Egg whites info Cooking Tips
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Egg whites info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.
egg whites info
In the Complete Cookery Course I wrote: The secret of beating egg whites is knowing when to stop. Twenty years and many more egg whites under my belt I would add another proviso: you also need to know when not to stop. I have to say in all honesty that getting whisked egg whites precisely right is an acquired skill no doubt about it. But all skills can be acquired and it does help if a) someone (hopefully me) explains it properly so you know precisely what youre supposed to do and why and b) you are prepared to practise enough because nothing beats experience.
So lets begin with egg whites.
What happens when you whisk egg whites?
First ofall the most important ingredient is not the egg white but the air because the whisked egg white is going to provide aeration for souffla meringues cakes and the like. In whisking them what youre actually doing is incorporating air and as you do so the original volume of the egg white can actually be increased by up to eight times.
As you whisk in the air tiny air bubbles are formed. It might help to think of what happens when you blow up balloons here: too little air and the balloon will not be buoyant and bouncy too much air and it will burst and the air will be lost. Therefore the cook has to whisk to precisely the right degree and then stop: too little and the egg white will be flabby too much and the bubbles will burst releasing the precious air (and it will still be flabby!).
When do you stop?
Knowing the right moment to stop is trick); and all the cook can do is follow the tried and trusted guidelines namely to stop when you reach the stage at which the egg white stands up in welldefined peaks. If the egg white is for a cake mousse or soufllc where it has to be folded into other ingredients the peaks should be soft (so that when you lift the whisk the peaks drop slightly); if it is for a meringue where sugar is going to be incorporated it should stand up in stiff peaks. In this book I will always indicate whether stiff or soft peaks are called for.
Grease: the enemy
The one thing that will prevent egg whites from reaching their fullblown potential is even the tiniest presence of grease. Thats why the merest trace of egg yolk in the white means you are done for. But Im afraid thats not all: you also have to be scrupulously careful about the bowl and whisk which must also be greasefree. So always wash them in mild soapy water rinse in very hot water then dry them with an absolutely clean tea cloth. Just to make quite sure run a slice of lemon round the whisk and the bowl.
A balloon whisk is said by chefs to be the best but it is too much like hard work for me. If youre young and more energetic by all means go for it. A fieestanding mixer or processor may be used but I have always felt that the whites are not exposed to enough air this way. Others disagree and you might find it best for you. An electric hand whisk is my personal favourite as I can fed and see eve n and the motor actually does all the work for me.
How to whisk egg white
Before you begin make sure the mixing bowl is as large as you can get which means as much air as possible can circulate around the egg whites as you whisk them.
Separate the eggs one at a time placing each white in a cup or small bowl before adding it to the beating bowl. This means that if an accident occurs with say the third egg and you break the yolk the other two are safe. Switch the whisk on to a slow speed first of all and begin whisking for about 2 minutes until everything has become bubbly (this timing will be right for two to three egg whites; youll need slightly more time for four five of six). After that switch to a medium speed for a further minute then whisk at the highest speed and continue whisking through the softpeak stage until stiff peaks are formed.
Always remember that a cake or even a souflee with less or more air in it will not be a disaster. If the egg whites are not quite right the finished dish will still taste good. If youre cooking with natural fresh ingredients who cares what it looks like? Its bound to taste good. I have often got egg whites wrong but still enjoyed the notquitesopuffy pavlova. Of course we should always endeavour to get things right but cooking like life isnt always perfect.
How to make meringue
I think one of the best ways to start practising whisking egg whites is to make meringues.
Meringue must be the most popular eggwhite recipe of all whipped with fine sugar into tall stiff shining peaks then very lightly baked so that the surface is crisp and the centre is soft and chewy. The tricky bit is whisking the egg whites (see the method above) but the way it is cooked is important too. My own method of baking has stood the test of time and provided your oven temperature is correct it will never let you down. The secret I think is allowing the meringue to remain in the closed oven after the heat is turned off so that it partly bakes and then slowly dries out.
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